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23rd May 2019

Former Southampton academy coach found guilty of 45 indecent assaults on teenage boys

Police described Bob Higgins as a 'predatory paedophile'

Oli Dugmore

Police described Bob Higgins as a ‘predatory paedophile’

Former youth coach at Southampton and Peterborough Bob Higgins has been found guilty of 45 indecent assaults on teenage boys.

The 66-year-old was in charge of the two clubs’ academies and the offences took place over a 25 year period.

23 boys were abused by Higgins, who was thought of as a “God-like father figure,” Sky News reports. The victims said they felt as though Higgins could end their footballing careers if they did not comply.

The guilty verdict was reached after a retrial and Higgins displayed no emotion when it was read out.

Higgins was convicted of an indecent assault charge last year. The victim in that instance, Greg Llewellyn, waived his anonymity to comment on Thursday’s ruling.

He said: “I know a lot of the older guys have a great sense of guilt that they were not able to stop the abuse that happened to them before it happened or after it happened to go to police and stop it from happening to other people they knew and had a career in football with.

“I am convinced there are many more people who have suffered at the hands of Higgins and I hope that they find the strength to come forward.

“I have dealt with my demons some time ago, I am emotionless with regards to Higgins.

“I just hope for the other guys who are not quite as progressed on their healing journey.

“Some have disclosed details only to the police and no-one else and are still trying to come to terms with it.

“There are some very, very profound results of what happened.

“It caused me many difficulties in relationships, marriage, none of those positive, some incredibly negative outcomes.”

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Brown said: “Bob Higgins was a predatory paedophile. He thrived on controlling and manipulating his victims and knowing that he held the career prospects of many young men in his hands.”

A date for Higgins sentencing has not yet been set.